THE people in charge of England’s underachieving soccer team have chosen an Italian coach who has absolutely no experience in English soccer and barely speaks the language.
More likely th
e best thing to happen to the team in decades.
Like Sven-Goran Eriksson six years ago, Fabio Capello faces a hostile reception from those who demand that England’s national team should have an Englishman in charge.
But English coaches haven’t done a lot for the team since Alf Ramsay won the World Cup in 1966. Since then, England hasn’t even reached a final.
Capello’s big advantage is that he arrives with the proverbial blank sheet of paper — no prejudices about whether to choose players from one club or another, no verbal history with Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson or Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, no knowledge of why Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard seem to be tripping over each other in midfield.
And while Eriksson had an impressive record of successes at club level when he arrived in 2001, Capello’s is far better.
The Italian, who has won 14 titles with AC Milan, AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid, is in the powerful position of saying to all of England’s so-called “golden generation” of stars: Prove that you want to play for your country.
“The pride of wearing this shirt should be a stimulus for all the players to give more,” Capello said Monday on his arrival as England coach. “I want to see them play for their national team the way they play for their clubs.”